After talking to our nutritionist, Yvonne Nienstadt, about not getting sufficient sleep, she suggested I go to the “Sleep Well: Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep” class the next day. I’m so glad I did. She gave us a wealth of new information regarding what to do and what not to do in order to get a good night’s sleep. Not surprisingly, the class was full! It seems many of us have a hard time either falling asleep or staying in a deep sleep!
10 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep:
- Use your bed for sleep only and, ahem, one other thing. However, do not use your bed to lounge around and read, browse on your computer, eating or anything else. Deborah Szekely says, “The bedroom is a place where, upon entering, one lays down the burdens of the day. A room with peaceful color, no work on the desk, no TV, good books, good music, light control, sound control, perhaps a place or altar where one would light a candle, or meditate and burn incense. Opening the door and walking into the bedroom should bring a sigh of relief or pleasure, closing the door denying entrance of stress of the day.”
- Sleep in complete darkness. Light from TVs, alarm clocks, mobile phones, computers and even street lights can disrupt our sleep. To ensure that you reach a deep sleep, remove any electronics emitting light from your bedroom, and add light blocking curtains if needed.
- Reduce EMFs (electromagnetic fields) in your bedroom by keeping your mobile phone, dimmers and transformers at least eight feet away from your bed. And CD or iPod players and light dimmers should be at least six feet away.
- Reduce noise pollution by wearing ear plugs to bed or buying a white noise generator. This is especially helpful for those who have partners that snore or live around a lot of transportation noise pollution.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, chocolate and any drinks with caffeine after noon. Caffeine raises cortisol, a stress hormone which we need in the beginning of the day, but can keep us awake at night. Caffeine can stay in our bodies for 12 hours or longer.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Although alcohol is a depressant, it actually disturbs the quality of our sleep, keeping us from attaining a deep, dreamless sleep. Try to drink 2 to 3 hours before bed at the latest.
- Establish a normal sleep routine. Our body likes a routine schedule. Our sleep rhythm can get disrupted by going to bed and waking at different times each day. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. However, if you do fall asleep later than usual, it is better to wake up at your routine time instead of sleep in.
- Don’t do high intensity exercises late at night because it stimulates metabolism, which will keep you awake, although you can do relaxing exercises like yoga and Tai Chi right before bed.
- Take a calming warm bath or shower with calming essential oils before bed. Don’t make the water too hot as that can be stimulating.
- Avoid heavy meals before bed to help the body rest and not waste precious energy digesting food while sleeping.
I’m in the process of implementing many of these tips myself. Actually, as I look through the list I can see I’m guilty of doing the opposite of almost all these precautions! No wonder I’m not getting the sleep I should. My immediate goal is to get these tips underway, specifically reducing EMFs, light in the room and creating a better sleep schedule. It’s a process, and it will be difficult to convince my husband to take the TV out of the bedroom, but I’m determined!